Here in Canada we have a lot of rights and benefits that other countries do not; that is called privilege. Today we will take a closer look at privilege in an everyday situation that happened to me, and try to answer the question “Should the privileged feel guilty?”
So this isn’t a completely foreign situation for many Canadians, but I went shopping for clothing a few days ago; I needed to get an interview outfit for my trip to Toronto and some high heels to match. Howevever, a couple of things occured to me when I came home.
Firstly, I noticed that I seem to have a strange idea of what a “need” is. I have never had to worry about being able to eat, or having a roof over my head. Those things,while recognized as needs, are never at the front of my mind. Often times it becomes easy to forget these core needs, and create superficial ones. While I can shop happily without worry for luxuries, someone may be struggling to survive!
To put out another point, not all women have the right to shop alone, and even are required to have a man with them at all times! Not only can they not shop alone, they would never be able to wear the type of clothing I was buying: a dress cut above the knee. It is a huge privilege to be able to decide what to do with your body!
What Did I Learn?
So to take it back to the original question, should we feel guilty? I think it is only natural to feel that way when we have more then we need, and rights not everyone has. However I think that instead of feeling guilty, we should use those thoughts to do something positive! Instead of fussing about what you have, try to make a difference in someone else’s life. It could be as simple as sharing your lunch with someone without one at school, or even donating a bit of your own money to a charity like Free the Children!
Thanks for reading, and remember: